Plymouth's litter problems are getting worse says Southway ex-naval officer
LITTER-picking champion Michael Gibson says he is losing his one-man battle to beat the rising tide of discarded rubbish – but he is fighting on.
The 87-year-old retired officer has featured in The Herald in the past armed with his litter picker and bin bags cleaning up the streets. Now, however, he says the mess is out of control.
He says he is sick of seeing the piles of rubbish which can be found all the way along Clittaford Road in Southway.
Mr Gibson said: "As I'm walking up to my doctor's near Beechwood primary school I'm confronted with a stream of rubbish. Last time I was up there I counted close to a hundred cans and bottles.
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"It's mostly discarded plastic bottles but increasingly I find glass ones which could be dangerous.
"I find redundant takeaways chucked away and even knives and forks some days. It really is appalling."
The Widewell Residents Association interim chairman is not blaming the council for the mess though.
"This is not the council's fault," he said. "They do their collections on time and clear the street bins regularly. The problem lies with the people that insist on throwing this stuff around.
"It is a certain age group that have no concept of civic responsibility. They chuck things away anywhere, anyhow and just do not care.
"I don't have the means to pick up all the rubbish that's been dumped and even if I did the problem would still exist. I believe the problem has become worse."
Plymouth City Council said it cleans the streets in Southway once every two weeks as well as putting on a regular refuse service for residents.
There are punishments in place for anyone caught littering but the council admits it is difficult to catch people in the act.
A spokesman for the council said: "Everyone has a responsibility for discarding of their litter in an appropriate way.
"Dropping litter is a criminal offence under Section 88 (1) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and fixed penalty notices can be issued by authorised council officers, neighbourhood wardens and Police Community Support Officers.
"Residents wishing to report litter problems in their area can contact the council on 01752 668000."